Google+ for Business: The Ultimate Guide
The future is exciting for Google+ as it’s parent Company Google Inc. concentrate on the Social sharing and recommendation platform; combining their leading online search expertise with the creation and publication of rich content that will re-invent search on a personal level. In fact Google+ is fast becoming known as a Social Layer; the central tool that will unite the many Google applications that are currently available.
With these developments in the pipeline, the utilisation of Google+ for business is vital. Find out how to best use Google+ for business including getting set up, utilising features and increasing online presence through integration with Search.
The business case for using Google+
- Since Google+ launched on 28th June 2011 it has grown to over 500 million registered members
- It currently has over 135 million active users on a monthly basis
- 50% of users sign on daily
- One million brand and business pages were created in the first six months
- Google+ content integrates with Google Search to increase brand presence and boost SEO opportunities
- Linking an Adwords Campaign to a business page can increase the click through rate by 5-10 per cent.
To set up a Google+ business page, you must first set up a personal account to act as an owner for the business page. The personal account owner will be anonymous to the page and business page managers can be added once the business page is set up.
Google provide easy to follow steps to create a Google+ profile here.
TIP: Make sure to use your real name when creating a personal account as Google+ may suspend this account if a business name is entered.
Once the personal profile has been created:
- Click on the ‘Pages’ icon at the left hand side of the personal profile account; you may have to hover over the ‘More’ icon to access the page site.
- Click on ‘Create New Page’ in the top right hand corner of the screen.
- Select a category that best describes your business
- Enter a tag line that best describes your business
- Add a photo that represents your business brand
- Invite your personal followers to join your business page by sending a personal message.
TIP: If your business has a storefront or it’s location is important, select ‘Local Business or Place’ as when you then enter a telephone number the location will be displayed on ‘Google Maps’ which will enable the business to be easily found.
As Google plays a huge role in SEO it is important to ensure that your About Page optimises this.
- Provide an overview of your business that includes relevant SEO keywords
- Use bullet points to make your business opportunities reader friendly
- You can include links to specific pages and a contact form on your website
Linking to your website
The advantage of linking Google+ to your website is threefold:-
- It extends the reach of connection for your customers and followers
- It helps Google determine the relevancy of your site to a particular search query on Google Search.
- Your site becomes eligible for Direct Connect on Google which allows you to add a page to your circles from the Google Search page.
Engagement through Circles
Currently your business page cannot circle somebody until they circle you. This is where the importance of your personal page comes into account.
Continual engagement and interaction on your personal page strengthens relationships enabling you to periodically share links from your business page to your personal stream.
From building these relationships you can send requests to followers to access and share your business page and therefore increase your business following.
Once you have a following you can segment these followers through your circles and tailor posts and messages to benefit these groups.
You might want to categorize by customer/buyer/potential customer etc.
Posting tailor-made content to these groups ensures that they see rich content that is relevant to their requirements and eliminates the potential to spam.
Sharing content on Google+ is simple whether it be text, links, photo or video:
- Click on Posts at the top of your page.
- A box will appear inviting you to Share what’s new ….
- To the right of this box are icons that invite you to add rich media to your page.
- Click on the relevant icon and upload.
Although a business page cannot circle someone until they circle you, Google+ recently (Dec 2012) changed the ability of a page to re-share posts, comment on and +1 posts of personal profiles of people who have not circled them. This is a significant move forward for brand interaction and the expansion of reach.
Tip: Check out the Search Function on Google+. Your key words can be filtered down to the geographical location of your Search Terms making it easy to source local news and events
Google+ have incorporated many features to facilitate interaction through the Social Sharing platform. The main features are:
- +1 recommendation
Recommending content on Google+ by clicking +1 is a great way to ensure that the reach of the content is extensive. Once someone has +1′ed your content they then have the option to share this with their network. If someone in their circles then +1’s that content and again shares it then this undoubtedly increases the visibility of your brand.
Another way to enhance your business profile is to +1 key contacts and influencer’s content, there-by creating brand association with their network and building relationships with key influencers.
+1 also appears in Google Search queries where the user can see which sites their network has recommended. This increases the probability of that site being visited over those without a recommendation.
Add the +1 button to your website so that visitors can easily recommend and share your brand content.
One of the most popular features of Google+ is undoubtedly the Google Hangout live video conferencing tool. It allows up to ten people at a time to communicate through video online and of course, it is completely free of charge!
Live conferencing brings both employees and customers closer with Hangouts providing an accessible platform to create content and share and discuss it easily.
The Ahain Group weekly Hangout
Once the Hangout plug in has been downloaded to your Google+ page you then join a Hangout or start one of your own.
Click on the Start a Hangout button on the top right hand corner of your page.
You will be invited to add friends, circles or email addresses and begin the conference.
Chat: You can communicate through chat which means you can write and talk simultaneously.
Screenshare: Information can be viewed from the screen by all participants. This means business information can be referred to throughout the meeting.
Google Effects: A light hearted ‘dress up’ effect with which you can change your appearance whilst talking. The Ahain Group use this constantly in our internal meetings!
Google Drive: The integration of Google Drive means that documents can be viewed during the meeting allowing full access of information to all participants whilst conversing.
There are many more apps that can be utilised during a Hangout. These include the use of Slideshare presentations, whiteboard facilities to capture notes and the ability to upload the Hangout to YouTube where the content can then be perused at leisure. Click on the ‘view more apps’ tab to choose the most suitable app for your particular Hangout.
Hangouts on Air
- This feature allows you to invite people to a Hangout and simultaneously broadcast it live to the world online.
- The live broadcast will appear on both your Home page and YouTube channel
- You currently cannot see the viewing figures on Google+ however you can check the number of views on your YouTube channel
- Once finished the Hangout will remain on your Google+ homepage
- You have the ability to edit and share the recording and the edited version will automatically be updated to your page.
This is a valuable platform for businesses to create and share content in real time.
The Google+ Events feature allows a business to invite people to join an event whether it is a Google hangout, a product demonstration or a meeting.
- Click on ‘Create Event’ button in the top right hand corner
- Add the basic details of the event – location, date etc.
- In ‘Event Options’ the default is that guests can invite other people and add photos to the Event page.
- Under Advanced Options you can create a Google Hangout event and choose to either hold it with invited guests or make it public.
- The Additional Fields tab allows information such as website and YouTube URLs to be added to the event.
- Once the invites have been sent an Event Page is automatically created for guests to respond, interact and post photos.
- The Event Page also has a link to the event in your Google Calendar. All events that are created or RSVP’d to by you are automatically integrated into your Google Calendar.
This new feature in Google+ is a great opportunity for businesses to increase their brand visibility and interact with users. The Communities are similar to forums where anyone can post and comment dependant on the settings of the particular Community group.
- A business page can set up its own brand community.
- The community can be open to the public or have privacy settings engaged.
- The community can remain open or use moderators to manage the content.
- The content can be grouped into sub topics making it easier to find relevant threads.
It can post and comment in other Community groups there – by interacting with other communities relevant to your business.
Managed well, your business community can be instrumental in increasing brand awareness, trust and visibility and it also creates an opportunity to establish the brand as a knowledge leader within your Industry.
Google+ Ripples create an interactive visual of the reach of shares on content that has been publicly posted in a stream. The analogy is to showcase how the post has ‘rippled’ through the network. It also enables a poster to see who is sharing there-by creating an opportunity to interact with people and increase reach.
To view the ripple of a post, click on the ‘options menu’ button at the top right of the post
- Ripples will only show public shares. Private shares are not included.
- The circles also detail the number of shares the original sharer has received.
- Ripples identify key influencers associated with the post creating an opportunity to build relationships.
- Ripples depict the metrics of how the post has been shared.
- Ripples also show the different languages that the post has been shared with.
Other Google+ Business Enhancements
Brand Verification by Google
A great way to promote brand trust and have legitimate recognition by Google is to have the brand verified by them on your business page. This currently does not appear to affect Search rankings but is a good idea to have in place for future Google developments. The criteria are ambiguous in that Google states that the business must have a ‘meaningful’ number of followers.
Previously known as Google Places, the, now known as Google+ Local has been heavily integrated into the Google+ platform.
If you have set up your business page in the ‘local’ category you can link your Google+ Local listing to your Google+ account. This enables reviewers to add you to their circles; you can then follow back and engage with a wider customer base.
Linking to a Google Adwords Account or Campaign
If you have a Google+ business page and an Adwords account these can be linked together so that your Google+ social extensions appear in the ad.
The +1 button appears by default and if the +1 is activated on the ad it will appear as an endorsement +1 on your page. This builds your brand’s online presence and following.
Google indicate that an ad with social extensions averages a click through rate upsurge of 8-12 per cent across all industries.
Authorship – Author Rank
Content can be easily duplicated and distributed online which is why Authorship is becoming so important as it identifies the creator of content and how authentic and influential they are when it comes to valuable content creation. Taking this a step further, by linking to your Google+ page you can signify to Google your credibility and relevance as a content creator and in the future this could lead to higher rankings in search; hence the term – Author Rank.
- Referrals: Through the use of Google+ features and tools including hangouts; Mashable have grown Google+ into one of their top ten sources of referral traffic
- Search: Cadbury has seen a 17% uplift in CTR on linking its Google+ page to its Adwords campaigns
- Growth: Leading fashion retailer H & M has used its Google+ page to engage and grow its following to over 2.3 million by releasing exclusive preview footage of latest fashion launches.
- Innovation: Cadbury’s again increased engagement on Google+ dramatically by creating its brand page out of chocolate to celebrate reaching a milestone number of followers. Yum!
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If you would like to talk further about how Google+ can benefit your business or if you would like The Ahain Group to help you along this path please feel free to contact us.
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